Luminox 3050 Navy SEAL Watch
Dan Z. for TTAG
Luminox 3050 Navy SEAL Watch
Dan Z. for TTAG

I’m not a Navy SEAL and chances are you aren’t one either. Maybe you own a SIG P226 MK25 because that is (was) the SEALs’ pistol. If the SEAL seal of approval is your thing, you’re gonna love the Luminox 3051.

Mine was a Christmas present a couple of years back. What’s that you say? No one needs a watch any more? Everyone already has a time-teller in their pocket?

Wristwatches haven’t gone the way of the buggy whip or the Zune. Yet. Just because you have a phone doesn’t mean you don’t still need or have good use for a clock strapped to your arm. Sometimes it’s just easier and a lot more discreet to glance at your wrist than to look at your phone. Sometimes.

Oh, and good luck swimming with your iPhone or Galaxy.

Luminox 3050 Navy SEAL Watch
That’s the Navy SEAL trident embossed on the back. Dan Z. for TTAG

The 3051’s carbon case and mineral crystal form a seal around a reliable quartz movement that’s rated to 200 meters. That’s not a depth I ever expect to experience, at least not voluntarily. This may be a dive watch, but SCUBA isn’t my thing.

Over the last couple of years, though, the Luminox has held up quite nicely to rain, showers, swimming, a white water rafting trip, and all other forms of abuse I’ve managed to put it through.

Luminox 3050 Navy SEAL Watch
The Luminox 3051’s 23mm rubber strap is light and secure. (Dan Z. for TTAG)

That carbon case and the rubber band also keep the Luminox light. As in very. According to my kitchen scale it weigh in at a mere 1.9 oz. Yes, it’s that light. And the 3051’s double-pronged stainless clasp simply will not give way.

Taken with an iPhone in total darkness. You won’t have trouble telling the time at night. (Dan Z. for TTAG)

One of the most convenient features of the Swiss made Luminox 3051 is its tritium illumination. Just like your XS night sights, the Luminox watch features tritium vials at each numeral, on all three hands and at the zero mark on the bezel ring.

The photo above was taken with an iPhone in complete darkness. There are very few circumstances in which you won’t be able to tell the time.

Luminox 3050 Navy SEAL Watch
Dan Z. for TTAG

This isn’t a fancy watch. You may not want to wear it with a suit and tie (I don’t suffer from that problem). Then again, who wears a suit and tie any more? Brooks Brothers had been slowly going bust long before COVID finally sunk it.

Just like your EDC gun and the blade you carry in your pocket, the Luminox 3051 is an EDC tool, and a supremely reliable one. It’s tougher than a two dollar steak and far more satisfying (not to mention attractive in a utilitarian kinda way). It’s non inexpensive. They start at about $225 and range up to roughly $300, but they’re worth every samolian you’ll spend and will probably outlast you.

You don’t have to be a Navy SEAL to wear a watch that’s this good or this dependable. And strapping it on at the same at the you slip your pistol into your holster every morning is a darned good habit to develop.

74 COMMENTS

  1. Got an old old Breitling Navitimer and an Omega X-33. Wear a Hamilton Grand Prix most days. Got a couple Timexes too.

    • Timex is the way to go. When one takes a dump, usually 3-5 years I just get another.

      Plus my grandkids love playing with my indiglo. And I don’t sweat them playing with a cheap watch.

      • Tritium-vial watches are cool to look at in the dark.

        You don’t have to push the damn button like you have to on the Timex.

        (I like Timex watches. I had one run nearly 10 years on 1 battery. I just checked the drawer. That fucker is still ticking…)

        • Toddler grandkids like pushing the button to get the light. The older grandkids like pushing my buttons.

        • I have a drawer of old watches…A Citizen eco-drive I need to get repaired.

          Perhaps I will after buying another couple cases of 12ga..lol

      • Omega’s X33 is the best electric flying watch ever made. Yes I know you generally “can’t use your watch because it’s not on the minimum equipment list.”

      • Same. Going on 6 years with my Expedition indiglo. Priorities. I EDC a cheap watch, wedding band, pen, wallet, but use a $150 holster.

    • After retiring I found several things I just don’t need. A watch, calendar, alarm clock, pants, shoes with laces, newspapers, mail. Just stay off my lawn, rotten kids.

      • Doing more than your imbecilic response shows in your ability level. Just was able to do it without a watch stuck on my arm.

        • I think his point was: nobody cares, why bother commenting…. so instead of getting butthurt, learn the psychology of the need to express yourself in a comment section of an article that you care nothing about vs. knowing what imbicilic means. Just sayin.

    • Darkman:
      Got you beat. Haven’t worn a wristwatch since about 1975. Found out you can still do good stuff (and know what time it is) without having the time strapped to your wrist. When I was working (now retired), I used to carry a cheap digital stop watch (with the neck cord removed) in my shirt pocket. The stop watch had a time-of-day-and-date feature and worked just fine. Don’t even have that now.

  2. Considering the watch has like 15 vials of radioactive tritium gas like night sights use (that cost a minimum of 100 bucks), 200-300 bucks for the watch is a steal…

    • They seem to last a long time too. My watch was pretty worn when I got it maybe 7 years ago. It isn’t bright, but I could see it at night last time I checked.

    • The vials are not that expensive. Price out getting them replaced in your night sights sometime and keep in mind the labor.

  3. Looked very seriously at them for a time. My only real complaint is that they should come with a sapphire crystal standard. That kind of watch is designed for hard use, a regular mineral crystal is going to be mauled in short order. I put sapphire crystals in all of my watches as I’m quite hard on them (unintentionally).

  4. I avoid pretty much anything that advertises itself as “Navy SEAL” or spec ops. Don’t feel like paying the extra for marketing.

    Same thing is true of training and instruction… beware of anyone advertising that they have “trained special forces” or something. They probably put on a free seminar about some niche item just so they could put that on their brochure.

    • One of my pet peeves. Firearms instructors who have never fired a shot in anger. 99% of what’s out there is that way. Posers. It’s one thing to teach how to win in shooting sports. Its a whole nuther thing to teach you how to come out in first place in a firefight.

    • I have a old watch with radium paint. It’s a real nice aviator watch. Look up radium girls to see the sad fate of many of the women who applied the paint to them. I forgot one time and went to go in Turkey Point with it on. Folks got kind of excited when I set alarms off.

      Yes I am aware of the hazards of it . I keep it in a hermetic storage container when it’s not being shown and open that outside.

        • How do you get your ears past the rim? Lube? How do you breath up there? Scuba hose?

          You liberals make all sorts of outlandish claims.

    • so… “ranger panties”.

      In all seriousness, ranger panties are perfect in those “bug out” bags. I’d rather strip down and wear those when crossing waist high water than soak my clothes, plus, they are pretty effin comfy lol.

  5. I have an older one with the velcro strap. It’s pretty nice. I forgot I left a case screw out of it after a battery change and then I got in the pool. It got stuck and after a battery change its been fine. Just need to get another springy deal for the strap because mine got knocked off put in the desert one time and there was no way I was finding it.

  6. I’m Casio all the way, including G-Steel and a couple G-Shocks. I did spring for a Swiss Mondaine once, after a hospital stay in the same ward as an architect who had one. I have about thirty five watches. It is a sickness. Please send help. Some watches I have bought but never worn…

    • Never was a team guy. But in the day we wore covers on our watches and turned them on our wrists so that the face was facing our bodies. Guys that wore glasses took them off at night. Light reflects off them.

  7. A couple of years ago some fool berated me for wearing a watch. I glanced at my wrist and told him “OK. Tell me when 15 seconds are up.” … Crickets.

    Charlie

  8. I’m on my third band with my Luminox.
    Second battery.
    Really good reliable watch. And I tend to be hard on things like rings and watches.
    Still got a scar from my bow string ripping the metal band off of a watch.

    • Bow strings can give you a real owie. I use all those words you’re not supposed to use when I screw up and get burned.

  9. Thing is, I really do NOT want to know what time it is in the dark. I just want the dog to get whatever needs to be done over with and lets go back to bed.

  10. Shiny clasp and glowing elements on a Navy Seal watch with a rubber band. Yep, definitely super operator gear. That rubber band is a dream to wear for extended time after water immersion or in high-heat and humidity environments; you sure don’t end up with cottage cheese skin afterwards. I’m sure you wear it with the face facing outwards too for those sensitive night time ops also.

    Anyone else notice that in the picture the watch is way too tight on that fatty wrist wearing it? Circulation loss much?

    Jeez! Love these knock off products.

    Seriously now, nylon band, non-reflective clasp, no emittive elements, non-reflective pieces and in a proper watch sheath damn it.

  11. I made the switch to a “smart watch”. I love it. I don’t use it for 99% of it’s purposes… like some overweight people do to “monitor their health”. But the ability to see texts and calls on my wrist is pretty sweet. Keeps the phone in the pocket especially if my hands are wet or occupied or whatever. I pretty disable everything else. Anything tacticool can die a slow death tho. Airsofters would wear shit like this… or Dan Z… maybe get an instagram account for things you buy and feel like sharing dude.

    • I fell out of a moving vehicle once. Only thing that broke was my Timex. Fortunately they’re cheap enough to replace with no sweat.

      • I’ve picked up a few Timex watches out of the grass and yeah, the straps break as well as the computer. Junk.

  12. I can guess the time better than my Luminox can. The band and keepers are wimpy and they charge enough for them to buy another watch. It also eats batteries like tic tacs. Just FYI.

  13. Rolex Submariner. Mine loses no more than 1-2 seconds per month and winds itself. Bonus check splurge a few years ago.

    • Excellent accuracy. Most Swiss chronometers can only average 5 seconds a day. Certified. You got a keeper. Rather than spend that kind of money – my bonus money goes for Xmas presents or truck tires, more mundane things, I buy Citizen Eco Drive Dive watches. Good lume, the three I have keep to 1 second a month, too. The Seiko Orange Monster has great all night lume, but two minutes fast a week tells me where Seiko puts their money. Not in accuracy of their mechanical works. Quartz does that job. I’m glad Rolex invented it.

      I’m no fan of tritium in comparison – the oldest Citizen I have is 11 years old, still great lume, the oldest tritium night sights are on a SW 4566 about 1995 vintage and dead as a doornail. Relamping them is double the cost of just buying another new set of sights, and after all the expense, they are guarandamnteed to fail in another ten years, again. My Citizens will still be working and glowing. I really don’t see – : ) the reason to “invest” in tritium anything if the working life is half the life of the watch in the field.

      As for G Shock or Timex requiring a button push, that is exactly why they are preferred for military use, even tho most aren’t tactically operating nightly, if ever. Most of those watches are simply part of the culture, as most service members are not combat arms and rarely operate operationally. Goes to “Navy Seals” is a marketing gimmick – just a few thousand at most and they sell tens of thousands of watches, knives, etc annually? Anyway, Casio and G Shock get the nod often because of price. A $250 tacticool watch is something an E4 blows his reenlistment bonus on – those projector techs are highly valued.

      Watches in and of themselves with flat crystals reflecting sun or moonlight are generally covered up, and often kept OFF the wrist when in the field to do it right. Goes to wearing glasses, too, and why Lasik seemed such a good idea until the longer term negatives were fully explained.

      I’ve been watching auctions on used watches a lot lately, Luminox does hold value yet the buyers don’t understand the reason they were sold is that the Tritium half life has rendered them unseeable in the dark. Consider carefully if the price premium is really worth it.

  14. I still use a cheapo ~$3 watch with a velcro strap. Plastic all around, tells the time, back-light, and has a simple stopwatch function. Basic swimming / shower water resistance and has survived countless workouts, shocks, and abuse around the farm. Rubber straps inevitably break at wear points while nylon / Velcro will keep going. A quick check on Amazon indicates that the strap can break and I would replace it with nylon out of the box, especially when the watch costs a few hundred dollars. There are others that cause me to suspect that its not nearly as reliable as TTAG is hyping it up to be.

    The replacement battery I put in it probably cost more than the watch and I have over ten years use out of it. The only thing this watch can do that my cheapo can’t is go deep in the water and still function. Too many buttons for water to leak in, etc.

    If you are a diver, by all means, get a nice diver’s watch, there is no substitute for a professional, commercial, tool that exceeds ISO standards. I personally like nice, high quality tools, not necessarily expensive tools. This one appears to be on the budget end of dive watches and probably does its job well. However, I doubt there are very many people here that are scuba certified, much less regularly dive recreationally or professionally. Most will be better served by something that has basic shock resistance rather than dive capability.

    If you are getting a dive watch, get a nice one that doubles as a status symbol. All metal construction, gas release port, etc; none of this carbon nonsense. The pictures in this article don’t do the Luminox watch justice; the products are nice, and quite a bit shinier and clearer than the pictures indicate. Replace the rubber strap!

    The two nicest watches I own(ed) where a $100 range G-shock watch, and a lower end Seiko 7N43-8110, which is basically a cheap Rolex knockoff that I have been meaning to fix up due to its sentimental value.

  15. Dan, that old Seiko is probably more accurate than the Rolex it is meant to be an homage to.

    Watch history fact: Seiko introduced the world’s first quartz watch, the Astron, in December 1969, upending the worldwide watch industry and kicking off the quartz revolution. Everybody making quartz watches today, including Rolex, Omega, TAG, etc., are riding Seiko’s quartz coat tails.

      • 7N43-8110 is from a relative or family friend that gave it to me around 20, 22 years ago and there is no telling how long he had it before then. It’s around $20-30 today but I think it needs a new battery. I just need a watch tool to open the backing and drop a new 371 cell in.

  16. I don’t need a watch because it is a rip-off copy of navy seal bs. I need a watch that works. Simple $20.00 Timex with actual hands, not digital or LED. Keeps better time than a Rolex and I replace it every 3 years. My friend who collects watches gave me a citizen Eco-drive. I never wear it because it is big and I don’t want to be perceived as gay. (sic). I do have a hand me down from my father, 1911 Elgin pocket watch that still works like it was new. I always have a watch. My cell phone is a different matter, I leave it on the kitchen counter for 4 or 5 days at a time. Don’t really need a cell, I actually do things in Real life.

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